Blockchain: the architecture of the data processing center of tomorrow
As it could have been seen along the articles published in this blog, data centres have traditionally focused on data storage and in disaster recovery preparation, but they do not always meet the demand for real-time multi-user data flow. In today's ever-evolving digital marketplace, it is clear that there are more and more users and data every second. This growth puts pressure on these centres, forcing them to provide faster data transmissions for an ever-increasing number of Internet users worldwide. Faced with the sheer volume of data, data centre operations are shifting from storage to real-time on-demand data analysis and processing.
Today, the different leading-edge companies in the technology sector are turning to blockchain: a system that acts as a digital record manager, using multiple hardened data centres around the world to verify changes in data sets. Blockchain will reinforce the need for secure network-based infrastructures in data centres, which are forced to adapt to the new and emerging business strategies. In fact, such technology is used in many of today's implementations and is often not even palpable. Some examples of applications that include blockchain are smart contracts, decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (dApps) and central bank digital currencies (CBDC), but there are many more and the possibilities are constantly growing and expanding.
That said, how exactly does blockchain work in depth? As noted above, it consists of a truly revolutionary modern technology that creates a decentralized record of every transaction or block on the blockchain and sends it to multiple locations with computer networks to create a verification system. Blockchain not only increases access to "transparent" data on the Internet, but also acts as an active agent within the cybersecurity of the environment in which it is operating. The creation of blockchain may be highly resource needed, but in today's world, both cybersecurity and network integrity are paramount. The decentralized nature of this technology means that it would be extremely difficult for a hacker to manipulate the data unless he controls more than 51% of the entire network, something that is nearly impossible to do. Thus, a "false" change in a record will invalidate it when compared with millions of other copies stored in other parts of the world. This is why many large companies are funding work on blockchain applications outside the cryptocurrency market. The key to the success of such systems relies on secure, reliable and consistent connectivity, power and other related services offered in the data centre industry of the present.
Data centre network infrastructures must also support the Internet of Things, 5G networks and billions of new devices, while continuing to provide the increasing speed and scale required for this interconnection. These are changing, not only at the architectural level (Layer 3 network structure vs. Layer 2 network structure with spine and leaf tiers), but also at the physical level: there is an increasing amount of multi-fiber cabling providing high-density connections. As bandwidth requirements in data centres increase, the backbone of the data centre network has gradually been upgraded from 10G to 40G, with 100G deployments becoming completely commonplace. By using 40G splited 4 x 10G (or 100G as 4 x 25G as previously said) now, the spine and leaf architecture will provide a cost-effective and efficient network structure for managing large data distribution. The use of the meshed module allows for a spine and leaf structure completely compatible with today's 40G or 100G network while ensuring a smooth transition to future 400G network capabilities as user demand increases. Not only must data centres evolve to meet the demand for more traffic and more devices, but they must also prioritize the secure storage of users' sensitive data: by transforming their architecture and adopting a blockchain strategy, they can take the next step towards a fully connected society.
Looking forward to the project we have to do in the "Network Management and Planning" subject, we will keep in mind the importance of such transformations for the inclusion of the blockchain technique and we will keep you informed about our progress in subsequent posts. Thank you very much for your time spent reading us!
Arturo Moseguí and Enric Sasselli